Thursday, February 23, 2017

Economist: Think ‘Fast & Furious’ when talking about economy

Susan Loone     Published     Updated
INTERVIEW For Shankaran Nambiar, one of the country's most distinguished economists, Malaysia must get the big picture for the economy right.

The big picture, according to him, is somewhat lost, and what constitutes the big picture at present are remnants of Mahathirian “grandeur, a fuzzy reflection of the Malaysia Boleh ethos”.

“Who will create the spirit of this big picture? Or can that too be outsourced?’ asked the former economics lecturer in an interview with Malaysiakini.

“But why is this big picture necessary?

“Because now - and it seems pressing at this juncture - one needs a vision to guide the management of the economy,” said Shankaran, who explains it all in his new book “Malaysia in Troubled Times”, a 177-page anthology of articles from 2014 to 2016 published by the Strategic Information and Research Development Centre.

His book, with the front cover showing a streak of lightning piercing through the sky over the iconic Twin Towers, encourages interested readers to think and talk about the political economy of Malaysia.

“Just as you talk about the movie 'Fast and Furious', you should think and talk about the economy and what affects it,” said Shankaran, who also authored “Sen’s Capability Approach and Institutions” and “The Malaysian Economy: Rethinking Policies and Purposes”.

‘Fast & Furious’ is a series of American action films featuring illegal street racing and heists, which have been distributed by Universal Pictures since 2001.

'Gaps in reasoning process'

Shankaran’s book focuses on four important areas: Macroeconomy at Risk, Shifts in the Region, Public Policy and Getting the Big Picture right.

“Most books on the Malaysian economic policy look at trends; they analyse how the structure of the economy, for instance, has changed over the years,” said Shankaran, who is currently a senior fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).

“However, I am more interested in looking at gaps in the reasoning process, pointing out issues that are being ignored and drawing attention to what has to be done,” added the consultant for several United Nations agencies, International Labour Organisation and the Asean Secretariat.

Shankaran’s book, the third to his name, has received overall praise from experts in the field.

Ellen Frost, senior adviser of the East-West Center, Washington, described the book as “provocative, clearly written insights on the challenges facing Malaysia’s economy and Malaysian leadership”.

She sees Shankaran as repeatedly challenging his readers to think hard on past lessons and their implications for the future.

MIER chairperson Sulaiman Mahbob said the book is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in the Malaysian economy.

Former MIER chairperson cum current chairperson of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, said Shankaran's essays look into the pulse of the economy and state of nation.

Vikram Nehru, senior associate of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, said what is striking (in the book) is Shankaran’s “balanced analysis” of current economic issues.

'Past issues still relevant today'

The articles were written during several key points in the Malaysian economic history, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s announcement of the six percent goods and services tax in 2015, as Malaysia held the Asean chair, while the world watched how he handled the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

One wonders if Shankaran's analysis is still relevant, given that it was based on his observations for the period between Dec 19, 2014 and Jan 11, 2016.

He considered Malaysia’s economy then not to be in crisis but in “murky waters” due to the massive foreign capital outflows.

In 2016, several changes have taken place globally, for example, Donald Trump’s presidency in the United States in November, and the change in Trump’s foreign policies, including his anti-TPPA stance.

In July 2016, the United States Department of Justice moved to seize assets worth US$1 billion from individuals linked to Najib, including his stepson Riza Aziz and Penang-born businessman Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, for money laundering related to 1MDB.

But Shankaran said his book is no less relevant today than it was in 2014; in fact, some of the problems have been long-standing.

“I have, for instance, been talking about the urgent need for good institutions, good governance in the last 15 years. It seems no less crucial today than when I first wrote about it,” he countered.

“It is the same with policy inconsistency. I've long spoken about it. The book illustrates the problems of policy inconsistency over the period 2014 to 2016. I don't think we've seen the last of policy inconsistency.”

Shankaran noted that during his administration, prior to 2003, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad saw the need for a knowledge economy.
 
He does not think Malaysia is anywhere close to finding a solution to the problem Mahathir had identified back then.
“Until we seem reasonably close to a solution, we need to keep drumming that the problem exists,” he believes.

“My illustrations are rooted in 2014-2016, but the issues and principles still demand attention. You still need a way to frame your economic problems and to talk about them, and I’ve suggested one way of doing it.”

And one way of doing it, Shankaran suggests in the last paragraph of his latest book, is to go beyond the "empty slogans to revive the animal spirits that have receded".

Madinah's presence at Umno do raises eyebrows

Shakira Buang     Published     Updated
PKR has questioned if newly appointed auditor-general Madinah Mohamad's presence at several Umno functions have compromised her independence.

Party communications director Fahmi Fadzil today produced photographs depicting Madinah at several Umno-linked events and posed this question.

Madinah's husband Rizuan Abdul Hamid is the Kepong Umno division head.

"I feel it is necessary to ask this question, especially after looking at media reports mentioning Madinah.

"In the reports, she and other guests were photographed in front of several mock cheques with the Umno logo in Permatang Pauh," Fahmi said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters today.
 
He said the matter raised the question of whether a senior government official should attend political programmes, what more to pose for photographs with party logos.
Madinah (photo) was secretary-general of the Education Ministry at the material time.

Opposition and civil society figures have been constantly questioning Madinah's qualifications and independence after she took over as auditor-general from Ambrin Buang.

Her husband had once told the Umno annual assembly that he was willing to "die" for Najib and that the prime minister had once tried to help him avoid bankruptcy.

In a report in April last year, The Star said Madinah, as Education Ministry secretary-general, attended the launch of a Permatang Pauh Umno funded programme on "Steering youths from drug abuse".

And on Jan 3, Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia reproted that Madinah launched a programme for the distribution of aid to students by Yayasan Kepong, along with her husband.

"Yayasan Kepong is an proxy of Kepong Umno, as can be seen in the Facebook pages of Taman Kepong Umno branch and the blog Sangkakalajari.

'Auditor-general must be neutral'

"For me, while she already retired as Education Ministry secretary-general, her being there to open her husband's programme raises questions.

"An auditor-general must be independent, neutral and cannot be seen to be partisan," Fahmi said.

As such, Fahmi said that for the sake of the integrity of Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy, Madinah must disclose whether she is or was an Umno member.

If she is still an Umno member, Fahmi said, Madinah should let go of all her posts and membership in the party.

"Yes, I think this must be done," he said.
 
Being an Umno member, Fahmi added, would only add on to other concerns about Madinah, including her lack of background in auditing and experience in financial matters.
Also weighing in on the matter, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla alleged that Madinah's appointment was a desperate act by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Haniff went on to accuse Najib of continuing to appoint individuals seen to be partial to him to crucial official posts as a means to shore up his own position.

This, he argued, would only further scar Najib’s credibility as the prime minister.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sarawak urged to buy stake in gas block from Petronas

 | February 22, 2017

PKR assemblyman See Chee How hopes Petronas will give Sarawak first option of buying the 49% stake in a gas block off Sarawak that it is reported to be selling.
See-Chee-Ho_abang-johari-openg_sarawak_600
KUCHING: Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has been urged to take up the 49% stake in the SK316 offshore gas block which Petronas is reportedly planning to sell.

PKR Sarawak vice-chairman See Chee How said the Sarawak government should immediately negotiate with Petronas to purchase this stake.

See was responding to a Reuters report on Feb 20 that Petronas aimed to sell a large minority stake in the prized upstream local gas project for up to US$1 billion as it seeks to raise cash and cut development costs.

Petronas is looking to sell a stake of as much as 49% in the SK316 offshore gas block in Sarawak state, Reuters quoted sources as saying.

See, who is also Batu Lintang state assemblyman, said in a statement today: “I would be very disappointed if Petronas did not offer Sarawak the option to purchase the stake that it intends to sell.

“But, since the intention is now revealed, I urge the state government to immediately negotiate with Petronas to purchase this stake which includes the producing NC3 gas field currently feeding our LNG9 export project.”

See said if former chief minister Adenan Satem were alive, he would press Petronas to sell this stake to Sarawak to serve as the launching pad for Sarawak to participate in the upstream oil and gas industry, “a vision that the former chief minister shared with all Sarawakians”.

He said Abang Johari had been presented with an opportunity to not only continue with the legacy of his predecessor but to build up the momentum and take forward the Sarawakian aspiration.

See went on to detail the actions taken by Adenan to ensure that Sarawak not only had a fair share of the oil resources but that it played a bigger role in how Petronas handled Sarawak’s oil resources.

See posed several questions to Abang Johari:
  • Whether Abang Johari had followed up with Putrajaya on the strong representation made by Adenan’s administration to the federal government to amend Section 3(3) and Section 4 of the Territorial Sea Act 2012, to safeguard the integrity of Sarawak’s territorial boundary to have control over all its resources;
  • Whether he would set up a body such as a state sovereign wealth fund to undertake upstream and downstream oil and gas projects in Sarawak;
  • Whether he would push to make the state secretary an executive director (and not merely a non-executive director) in Petronas and ensure that the state secretary is consulted on all decisions concerning the oil and gas fields within Sarawak; and
  • Whether he was pursuing the plan to insist that Petronas’ human resources manager for its Sarawakian operation be a Sarawakian, and that a recruitment body be set up under the supervision of the Sarawak state secretary to ensure the implementation and realisation of the localisation plan.
See added: “I certainly hope that our present CM Datuk Amar Abang Johari will show the same mantle in safeguarding and advancing the rights and interests of Sarawak, and do better by taking steps to realise the vision and aspiration of all Sarawakians.”

~ Free Malaysia Today

C4 questions Madinah's qualifications as auditor-general

Published     Updated

Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre) has raised concerns over Madinah Mohamad's qualifications as auditor-general.

C4 Centre executive director Cynthia Gabriel said the position of auditor-general requires specific knowledge and capability, skills and practical experience in auditing, accounting and financial management.

"She (Madinah) may have qualifications apt for other work, but most glaringly she has no auditing experience.

"What were the process and consideration taken by the prime minister in recommending her appointment? We ask for an explanation in this regard," said Cynthia in a statement today.

Madinah was secretary-general of the Education Ministry and has a PhD in human resources.
Cynthia emphasised that the position is important to ensure as a check and balance to ensure accountability.

"We are baffled at the choice of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, given the importance of this much esteemed position, and its valued significance in independently auditing the management and use of public funds in the light of growing financial scandals in the country," said Cynthia.

Cynthia added that there are also concerns about Madinah's independence due to her husband, Kepong Umno chief Rizuan Abdul Hamid, declaring his willingness to "die for Najib".
Najib was an important figure in the 1MDB scandal which was a subject of investigation by the National Audit Department.

"In light of the foregoing, C4 Centre reiterates its call for the Auditor-General's Office to be independent and report directly to Parliament to ensure its independence and credibility," said Cynthia.

Be loyal to country, not PM

Meanwhile, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin congratulated Madinah on being the first female auditor-general.

"The 1MDB saga is an international scandal and I hope that Madinah conducts herself professionally as she is obliged to have an absolute duty to the rakyat.

"While Madinah's husband is faithful and willing to die for Najib, I hope that her loyalty lies with the country first," she said in a statement.

Zuraida added that the responsibility now lies with Madinah to restore credibility following the 1MDB scandal.

"The appointment of Madinah as auditor-general is questioned by many due to her husband being an Umno leader.
 
"Even though their experience and education background cannot be denied, there is no guarantee that there would be no political interference in her duties as auditor-general.
"Therefore, PKR urges the government to review the appointment of the auditor-general to ensure the position and department remain free from political interference," he said.

Madinah will assume the position of auditor-general tomorrow following the retirement of Ambrin Buang.

Ambrin, who will retire after today, had led the audit into scandal-plagued 1MDB. However, the government has refused to release Ambrin's report and classified it as an official secret.

It'll be religious dictatorship if Act 355 is amended, says ex-treasurer-general

Published     Updated
Malaysia risks turning into a divided "failed state" ruled by a religious dictatorship if the Syariah Courts (Criminal Juridiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 is amended, warns former treasurer-general Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim.

"PAS leaders used to claim that Malaysian laws, which followed the trend of the Western world, were inefficient in reducing crimes and vice activities. In contrast, they argue that Act 355 will allow us to be more advanced in combating crimes.

"I, together with those who disagree with Act 355, are of the view that we will deviate from the principle of the Federal Constitution by implementing strict syariah laws. The Act will scare and split the people of multiracial backgrounds," said Sheriff, whose statement was uploaded on the Facebook page of the G25 Group of Eminent Malays on Monday.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang tabled his motion for a Private Member’s Bill to amend Act 355 in Parliament last April in a move to expand the jurisdiction of the syariah court in passing sentences.

Last November, Hadi proposed amendments to raise the punishment cap of the syariah court to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.

The motion to amend Act 355, as sought by Hadi, is due to be taken over by the government and debated in the next sitting of Parliament, which begins on March 6.

Resorting to vice activities for survival

Sheriff in his statement warned that social peace and economic stability would fall apart gradually and the country would become a "failed state" as a result of recession and widespread unemployment and poverty.

This, he said, could be found in many Islamic countries, where crimes and vice activities happened due to poverty and parents would resort to vice activities for survival.

"That is why we see drug smuggling, children trading, robbery and socially bad behaviour (in these Islamic countries)," he noted.

"What is there to be proud of the syariah laws if the country is in a mess? Women would be victimised as usual. Many would not take it and flee to Western countries. When women face pressure in terms of human liberty, the country will not progress fully," he added.

If there is a weakness in the secular laws in Malaysia, he said, the issue could be raised and debated openly in line with the principle of democracy.

"If we were to use the syariah law under Act 355, we must follow what the ulama group have decided because they see themselves as an intelligent group," Sheriff said.

"They forbid any warning from the public, especially from non-Muslims and academicians, who give a different view. They will be accused of going against the Islamic teaching and told to get out of Malaysia.
 
"This 'religious dictatorship' attitude is worrying and will prevent (us from becoming) a developed state.
"We should learn the lessons of countries that have implemented syariah laws and later regretted and attempted to abolish them for the sake of the social well-being and economic situation of the people," he said.

Sheriff said this 'religious dictatorship' attitude is not suitable for a parliamentary democracy like Malaysia.

"We are ahead of other Islamic countries due to our progressive administrative and legislative system. It will be a loss for us to change this system into a system that has caused the Islamic countries to lag behind," he added.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bersih to launch nationwide voter registration campaign

Geraldine Tong     Published     Updated

Electoral reform movement Bersih is to launch a voter registration campaign that is expected to last throughout the month of March to encourage more eligible people to register as voters.

"At the present moment, we are still under-registering our new voters. A total of 4.4 million qualified citizens aren't registered as voters yet.

"Every quarter, it's 170,000 to 180,000 eligible new voters that have not been registered.

"That is why we feel this campaign can give a boost so that we get as many people as possible to register as voters. This is important for the coming general election," Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said at a press conference in Petaling Jaya today.

Assuming the next general election will be held in the third or fourth quarter of this year, March 31 would be the last day an eligible voter can get registered in time to vote in the forthcoming election, Maria said.

This is why, she added, Bersih will be campaigning intensively for the people to register themselves as voters in March.

Campaign to kick off on March 4

Called the 'U Campaign', it will kick off in Kuantan in Pahang and Inanam in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on March 4, she said.

The Bersih campaigners will then head to Johor Baru and Alor Star on March 5, and onwards to Penang, Kuching and Klang on March 11.

The last activity of the campaign will be at Petaling Jaya on March 25, she said, adding that Bersih was trying to target areas outside of Selangor and the Klang Valley.

Activities planned for the campaign will also target post offices, where the people can get registered, Bersih deputy chairperson Shahrul Mohd Aman Saari said.
 
Another activity would be flyers with a big bold letter 'U', where people are encouraged to write why they want to vote underneath it.
Succinct descriptions on how to get registered are written on the back of the flyers.

One of the main demographics of unregistered eligible voters they hope to appeal to are youths aged 21 to 29 years, Shahrul said.

"By introducing a sleek design and a more interactive aspect to our campaign, we hope to appeal to the younger generation while remaining committed to bridging the urban-rural divide," he said.

Husband of new auditor-general once said he'll 'die for Najib'

Aidila Razak     Published     Updated
PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil has questioned the decision to appoint Madinah Mohamad as auditor-general, given her links to Umno.

Her husband, Rizuan Abdul Hamid, had, as Kepong Umno chief in 2015, reportedly said that he was willing to "die for (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak)".

Fahmi said the post of auditor-general is a key role in government as the person oversees government bodies and the use of public funds.

"As such, the auditor-general must not only be independent, neutral and above party politics, but she or he must also be seen to be independent, neutral and above party politics.

"As Madinah's husband is a hardcore Umno member who has been reported as saying that he is 'prepared to die for Najib', this does not inspire the confidence necessary for the role of auditor-general.

"(This is) especially since several ongoing concerns, including 1MDB - which is linked to PM Najib - have not been fully resolved and the people are still awaiting the release of the auditor-general's report on 1MDB," Fahmi told Malaysiakini.

When contacted, Rizuan said: "(Madinah) is a principled woman. PKR need not question my wife's integrity. Just ask anyone at Education Ministry about my wife. Other secretary-generals are shaking in their boots."

Rizuan did not respond to Malaysiakini's query on whether he is still willing to die for Najib, while Madinah has yet to reply to the portal's private message to her on social media.

Fahmi had earlier also tweeted a photo of Madinah and Rizuan together, as well as a screenshot of the Astro Awani article quoting Rizuan as saying he was willing to die for Najib.

"The husband will die for Najib. The wife will become auditor-general," he said on Twitter.
 
At the Kepong Umno division’s annual meeting in October 2015, Rizuan is quoted as saying: "I am willing to die for Najib. Don't touch Najib. If I am to die, I want to die with Najib."
"This is our (Kepong Umno) vow. To die in politics is better than to die for nothing," he is quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Fahmi also called on Najib to explain why he did not advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to extend Ambrin Buang's service as auditor-general, given that the 1MDB issue is not yet concluded.

Ambrin oversaw the public audit of the government investment firm, but the audit report is still sealed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Thursday, February 16, 2017


johari-sarawak-hudud-1
KUCHING: Adenan Satem’s successor, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, has reaffirmed the state government’s stand against hudud.

Abang Johari said he would repeat Adenan’s directive to the BN MPs in the state to reject the bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355.

Adenan was staunchly opposed to the bill and had instructed Sarawak’s 25 BN MPs to do the same just before he died of heart failure.

“That is the stand of Tok Nan before and we will follow that stand.

“There will be no hudud law in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari after chairing a state cabinet meeting today.

He said the bill would cause the state’s peaceful multi-ethnic and multi-faith society to be undermined and it conflicted with the terms of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which declared Sarawak to be a secular state.

The opposition had called on Abang Johari, who was sworn in on Jan 13, to “make a clear and unequivocal” stand on hudud.

On Tuesday, Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian said opposition to the bill would “ultimately ensure the integrity of Malaysia as a secular state”.

Last May, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang moved a private member’s bill to amend Act 355 to enhance the punitive powers of the shariah courts.

At the Umno general assembly last December, Prime Minister Najib Razak said the federal government would eventually take over the bill from PAS.

Hadi’s bill seeks to raise the maximum penalties for shariah offences to 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the rotan.

Currently, the shariah courts may impose sentences not exceeding three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine and six strokes of the rotan.

~ Free Malaysia Today

New S'wak CM allows open tenders for short-term timber licenses

    Updated
Newly-minted Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg has allowed the issuance of short-term timber licences in the state through a tender process.

Abang Johari, who came to power after Adenan Satem's death last month, said this was to ensure transparent issuance of the licences.

“Short-term timber licences are only issued for state land forest which have been approved for development and Native Customary Land (NCL) Development Area and Native Communal Reserve that shall undergo development.

"These licences shall be issued by open tender,” he said in a statement today.

This will also be for existing licences which are due to expire, he said.

The Forest Department would prepare the tender documents and estimate timber stands value to determine the reserve price for the tender.
 
The tender will be advertised in local newspapers and the Forest Department website 30 days before the close of tender, he reportedly said.
The order is effective immediately and not subject to any Native Customary Rights (NCR) claims, the statement added.

The department will review the mechanism of award of timber licences for areas subject to NCR claims, he said.
Adenan had in 2014 directed a halt on all logging licences to curb corruption and illegal logging.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

BARU BIAN: CHIEF MINISTER MUST MAKE STAND ON HADI’S HUDUD BILL


PRESS STATEMENT
14 FEBRUARY 2017

We take note of the fact that the hudud issue and RUU355 continue to generate debate in the press and in social media. Due to the recent surge in interest in the matter and concern about the debate on Hadi’s Bill at the upcoming parliamentary session starting on 6 March, this is an opportune time to reiterate our position on it and to recall the stand made by the late former CM Tan Sri Adenan Satem. During the last parliamentary sitting, there was plenty of discussion and arguments, but it appears that the rights and concerns of Sarawakians and Sabahans in respect of this issue have been ignored at the federal level talks.

The late Chief Minister had repeatedly stated that Sarawak BN was against hudud law and had, on 23 November last year, instructed BN MPs to be united and vote against it. The current Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari had also made it clear on 19 September last year when he was DCM that Sarawak opposes the Hudud Bill, supporting Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s statement on 5 June that PBB will not support the Hudud Bill and that hudud will never be practised in Sarawak.

I had made several statements last year (on 16 June, 27 September, 18 October, 25 November and 2 December) on our reasons for opposing hudud law, including the fact that it would create two criminal systems in this country and various aspects of it would render it unconstitutional. Of crucial importance is the fact that Sarawak only agreed to the formation of a secular Malaysia.

Now that Adenan Satem is no longer with us, it would be reassuring for Sarawakians if his successor Abang Johari could make a public affirmation of the late Adenan’s stand on hudud. The current CM had said on several occasions that the cabinet is still essentially Team Adenan but with a new captain. It would therefore be comforting if he could state that the government’s stand has not changed, ie that the Sarawak government is opposed to hudud law. This would be in keeping with the late Adenan’s legacy of speaking up for the rights of Sarawak and Sarawakians.

Recalling that William Mawan and Tiong King Sing had said that they would not vote against the Bill, the Chief Minister must make a clear statement about the stand of the BN component parties in Sarawak, in his capacity as the team leader. In this most pressing and crucial matter, Sarawakians need to a clear and unequivocal statement on hudud law from the new Chief Minister.

We require all our Sarawak parliamentarians and state representatives to stand as one on the hudud issue. The stand taken by our MPs will be the litmus test of their sincerity in protecting our rights, which in this case, will have a wider impact on the country. To defend Sarawak's rights on this fundamental issue is also to ultimately ensure the integrity of Malaysia as a secular state.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan





Friday, February 10, 2017

Top court agrees to hear bid by three Muslim converts seeking return to Christianity

Thursday February 9, 2017

 Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. 


  Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, February  9   The Federal Court agreed today to a full hearing for three Sarawakian Muslim converts who face state-level challenges in their wish to revert to their original religion.

Jenry Peter alias Nur Mudzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Selina Jau Abdullah had asked if the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy matters or conversion out Islam when the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 has no provision concerning conversion into Islam.

Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who chaired a three-men panel, said the question of law posed by the three applicants required an answer as there have been similar cases nationwide.

“The Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance is a serious matter and if the legislation does nothing, what about the ordinary people?” the judge said.

Sitting with Suriyadi were Federal Court judges Tan Sri  Belia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

The three applicants, represented by lawyer Baru Bian, are suing the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, the Islamic Affairs Council, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government to be allowed to revert to Christianity.

They also asked the court for an order to compel the NRD director-general to change their Muslim names to their original names and their religion from Islam to Christianity in their official records.

The High Court, in 2015, had ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear apostasy cases.

Last August, the Court of Appeal rejected their application for a judicial review to compel the four respondents to issue a letter of release to them as they are no longer practising Muslims.

The four respondents were represented by state Deputy Attorney-General Saferi Ali and Shamsul Bolhassan.

Later, Baru told reporters that he had met with the late Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem last year on the need to amend the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance.

The lawyer recounted that Adenan had said he would study the issue.

Baru added that the ordinance, like other Islamic ordinances from the other states, is silent on those who wish to exit Islam.

He said there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam so long as they have made a statutory declaration they are no longer practising Muslims.

“Our argument is that since they are no longer Muslims, as sworn in their statutory declarations, the Shariah Court has no jurisdiction over them,” he said.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/top-court-agrees-to-hear-bid-by-three-muslim-converts-seeking-return-to-chr#sthash.bwMIN5YE.dpuf

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok TawieKUCHING, February  9 ― The Federal Court agreed today to a full hearing for three Sarawakian Muslim converts who face state-level challenges in their wish to revert to their original religion.
Jenry Peter alias Nur Mudzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Selina Jau Abdullah had asked if the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy matters or conversion out Islam when the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 has no provision concerning conversion into Islam.
Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who chaired a three-men panel, said the question of law posed by the three applicants required an answer as there have been similar cases nationwide.
“The Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance is a serious matter and if the legislation does nothing, what about the ordinary people?” the judge said.
Sitting with Suriyadi were Federal Court judges Tan Sri  Belia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.
The three applicants, represented by lawyer Baru Bian, are suing the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, the Islamic Affairs Council, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government to be allowed to revert to Christianity.
They also asked the court for an order to compel the NRD director-general to change their Muslim names to their original names and their religion from Islam to Christianity in their official records.
The High Court, in 2015, had ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear apostasy cases.
Last August, the Court of Appeal rejected their application for a judicial review to compel the four respondents to issue a letter of release to them as they are no longer practising Muslims.
The four respondents were represented by state Deputy Attorney-General Saferi Ali and Shamsul Bolhassan.
Later, Baru told reporters that he had met with the late Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem last year on the need to amend the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance.
The lawyer recounted that Adenan had said he would study the issue.
Baru added that the ordinance, like other Islamic ordinances from the other states, is silent on those who wish to exit Islam.
He said there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam so long as they have made a statutory declaration they are no longer practising Muslims.
“Our argument is that since they are no longer Muslims, as sworn in their statutory declarations, the Shariah Court has no jurisdiction over them,” he said.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/top-court-agrees-to-hear-bid-by-three-muslim-converts-seeking-return-to-chr#sthash.bwMIN5YE.dpuf

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok TawieLawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok TawieKUCHING, February  9 ― The Federal Court agreed today to a full hearing for three Sarawakian Muslim converts who face state-level challenges in their wish to revert to their original religion.
Jenry Peter alias Nur Mudzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Selina Jau Abdullah had asked if the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy matters or conversion out Islam when the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 has no provision concerning conversion into Islam.
Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who chaired a three-men panel, said the question of law posed by the three applicants required an answer as there have been similar cases nationwide.
“The Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance is a serious matter and if the legislation does nothing, what about the ordinary people?” the judge said.
Sitting with Suriyadi were Federal Court judges Tan Sri  Belia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.
The three applicants, represented by lawyer Baru Bian, are suing the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, the Islamic Affairs Council, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government to be allowed to revert to Christianity.
They also asked the court for an order to compel the NRD director-general to change their Muslim names to their original names and their religion from Islam to Christianity in their official records.
The High Court, in 2015, had ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear apostasy cases.
Last August, the Court of Appeal rejected their application for a judicial review to compel the four respondents to issue a letter of release to them as they are no longer practising Muslims.
The four respondents were represented by state Deputy Attorney-General Saferi Ali and Shamsul Bolhassan.
Later, Baru told reporters that he had met with the late Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem last year on the need to amend the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance.
The lawyer recounted that Adenan had said he would study the issue.
Baru added that the ordinance, like other Islamic ordinances from the other states, is silent on those who wish to exit Islam.
He said there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam so long as they have made a statutory declaration they are no longer practising Muslims.
“Our argument is that since they are no longer Muslims, as sworn in their statutory declarations, the Shariah Court has no jurisdiction over them,” he said.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/top-court-agrees-to-hear-bid-by-three-muslim-converts-seeking-return-to-chr#sthash.bwMIN5YE.dpuf

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok TawieLawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok TawieKUCHING, February  9 ― The Federal Court agreed today to a full hearing for three Sarawakian Muslim converts who face state-level challenges in their wish to revert to their original religion.
Jenry Peter alias Nur Mudzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Selina Jau Abdullah had asked if the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy matters or conversion out Islam when the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 has no provision concerning conversion into Islam.
Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who chaired a three-men panel, said the question of law posed by the three applicants required an answer as there have been similar cases nationwide.
“The Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance is a serious matter and if the legislation does nothing, what about the ordinary people?” the judge said.
Sitting with Suriyadi were Federal Court judges Tan Sri  Belia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.
The three applicants, represented by lawyer Baru Bian, are suing the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, the Islamic Affairs Council, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government to be allowed to revert to Christianity.
They also asked the court for an order to compel the NRD director-general to change their Muslim names to their original names and their religion from Islam to Christianity in their official records.
The High Court, in 2015, had ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear apostasy cases.
Last August, the Court of Appeal rejected their application for a judicial review to compel the four respondents to issue a letter of release to them as they are no longer practising Muslims.
The four respondents were represented by state Deputy Attorney-General Saferi Ali and Shamsul Bolhassan.
Later, Baru told reporters that he had met with the late Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem last year on the need to amend the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance.
The lawyer recounted that Adenan had said he would study the issue.
Baru added that the ordinance, like other Islamic ordinances from the other states, is silent on those who wish to exit Islam.
He said there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam so long as they have made a statutory declaration they are no longer practising Muslims.
“Our argument is that since they are no longer Muslims, as sworn in their statutory declarations, the Shariah Court has no jurisdiction over them,” he said.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/top-court-agrees-to-hear-bid-by-three-muslim-converts-seeking-return-to-chr#sthash.bwMIN5YE.dpuf

Thursday, January 26, 2017

BARU BIAN’S CHINESE NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2017

MAY THE ROOSTER HERALD A NEW DAWN
 


The year of the Monkey has not been kind to us. The mischievous monkey has left a trail of unfortunate events in its wake as it streaked through the year. 2016 was a difficult year, marked by the burden of rising prices, a weakening ringgit, continuing revelations of the 1MDB and other mega corruption scandals, tightening government controls over our democratic freedoms, among others. On a more personal level, my party members and I were shocked and saddened by the brutal shooting of Bill Kayong in June, and in December, the native community was dealt a devastating blow by the Federal Court in the TR Sandah judgment. The tail end of the Monkey Year saw the Chief Minister’s passing, bringing the year to a solemn close.

The Chinese anticipate the coming of the Rooster with gladness, for the loud crow of the Rooster heralds a new dawn, scaring away the negative and mischievous energies that have troubled us over the past year. Among the characteristics of the Rooster are the virtues of courage, trustworthiness and benevolence, and we look towards a new year in which these attributes abound around us. Courage to stand up and fight for what is right and just, to shift one’s mindset to make the changes that are necessary for our nation to progress; to place only trustworthy leaders to lead us out of the crisis this country is facing, so that we will have a government that is truly benevolent towards the people.

The chicken/rooster holds special significance for the indigenous people of Sarawak. Besides signaling the start of a new day with the rooster’s crowing, chickens play a huge part in the rituals of the Dayaks from celebration to propitiation. For them, the hope this year is that the Rooster will bring a new era of leaders who will be brave enough to pursue the agenda that had been set by the late Adenan Satem but yet to be realized. Their hope is that the leaders will amend the law to recognize pemakai menoa and pulau galau as NCR. For all Sarawakians, the wish is that our leaders will set themselves apart from the crop of corrupt and self-serving politicians and speak up against corruption, injustice, religious discrimination and extremism. There is much to be done to combat poverty in the rural areas, and to deliver/ improve healthcare, education, infrastructure and development to all. 

May the year of the Fire Rooster herald the dawn of a brave new world for Sarawak.
 
I wish all my Chinese friends Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái.

Xin Nian Kuai Le, Wan Shi Ru Yi!

BARU BIAN
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan










PKR won’t contest in Tanjong Datu

 

 

Baru (centre) speaking during the press conference after chairing the state PKR leadership council meeting yesterday. From the left are Abdul Jalil and state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How.
Baru (centre) speaking during the press conference after chairing the state PKR leadership council meeting yesterday. From the left are Abdul Jalil and state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How.

KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has announced that it will not stand in the Tanjong Datu by-election that will be held following the demise of its incumbent Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

Its state chairman Baru Bian said this was a unanimous decision made by the state PKR leadership council, as a gesture to let new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and the state government continue implementing the vision and policy Adenan made for Sarawak while he was chief minister.

“We in PKR do realise and recognise the stand made by our late Chief Minister (Adenan). We are together with him in the various stands he made, in particular he rekindled the hope of Sarawakians after assuming the post of Chief Minister.

“In fact, he even revitalised the Sarawakian dream. He stood firm against the federal government in reclaiming our rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963. He had made very clear on issues of freedom of religion, recognising English as one of the main mediums of instruction in Sarawak and others.

“We find that these are consistent with our own vision, dreams and manifesto. In particular, it is consistent with the Kuching Declaration which we prepared in 2012 as Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto before the 13th General Election (GE13). Because of all these, we feel that we should not stand in Tanjong Datu,” Baru said in a press conference after chairing a state PKR leadership council meeting here yesterday.

He said the party also recognised the fact that Adenan had wanted to meet the leaders of all communities to find solutions to native customary rights (NCR) over land, especially in view of the Federal Court’s decision on Tuai Rumah Sandah’s case recently.

“We know this is the legal precedent that affects all natives of Sarawak with the view of recognising those rights. So we really hope that Abang Johari will take all this seriously, which to us as legal persons, is nothing short of amending the state Land Code.”

Considering that the stands made by Adenan were the aspirations of all Sarawakians, Baru said his party would like to see them implemented by Abang Johari’s administration “in the coming months, year or even years to come”.

“We really hope that he (Abang Johari) is doing his very best to fulfil Adenan’s vision and policy. He (Abang Johari) has done a very good job in his first press conference when he mentioned publicly that he will pursue the vision of our late chief minister.

“That is a good starting point but what is of concern to all Sarawakians is ‘will he (Abang Johari) implement and will he be able to fulfil that in the next one or two months, or one or two years or even before 14th General Election (GE14)’. We believe that the people will judge him. We hope the new chief minister will be serious and not say it as political rhetoric.”

Apart from giving Abang Johari the opportunity to implement Adenan’s policy, the state PKR leadership council was of the view that they should focus on the 14th General Election.

“We are very aware, of course, that there are probably some views that will be against us in not standing in Tanjong Datu but we also look at it from a bigger picture. Politically, we are aware if you know of this saying in the art of war by Sun Tzu who says that by stepping back, it doesn’t mean that it is an admission of weakness because you can strike back two steps (forward) after that.”

Baru stressed that the national PKR leadership had left this decision to the state PKR leadership council and therefore, they were not subjecting themselves to the approval of the national leadership on this issue.

To a question, Baru said although PKR decided not to contest in Tanjong Datu by-election, the party could not stop or discourage anybody or any party from standing there.

“This is a democratic country, election is public and we have the freedom to stand. We will leave it to individuals or even other parties (on whether they want) to stand. I’m sure some people probably will have different view from us.”

Since PKR had decided not to stand in Tanjong Datu by-election, the party would also not be taking part in the campaign by any individuals or parties contesting in the by-election, adding that it would be contradictory to the party’s stand and principle if they participate in the election campaign, Baru said.

The Election Commission (EC) announced Feb 18 as the by-election date for Tanjong Datu. Nomination of candidates will be held on Feb 4, while early voting will take place on Feb 12.

Baru, during the press conference, also announced Abdul Jalil Bujang as the new state PKR deputy chairman as his predecessor Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh had decided to step down after the last state election.

~ Borneo Post

Sarawak CM and deputy to discuss NCR land issue

 | January 25, 2017

Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas says he will meet Abang Johari in the next few days to discuss the matter raised by the Dayak community.
johari-douglas-ncr-land
KUCHING: New Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg and his deputy Douglas Uggah Embas will discuss matters concerning native customary rights (NCR) land in the next few days.
Abang Johari had told reporters after chairing a PBB supreme council meeting on Saturday that former chief minister Adenan Satem’s last words to him and Uggah were to look after the state and to settle the NCR land problem.

Uggah had earlier been tasked by Adenan to work on resolving the NCR land issue.

Asked about this yesterday, Uggah said he would discuss with Abang Johari how to proceed on the matter.

“We had some discussion yesterday (Monday) and within these few days I will discuss it with Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari.

“I will then let you know what the next step is,” The Borneo Post quoted Uggah as saying after visiting the Swee Kee Marine Sdn Bhd ice and fish landing facility in Muara Tebas yesterday.

The report said Uggah replied in the negative when asked if he had received any memorandum concerning NCR issues, particularly on “pemakai menua” (territorial domain) and “pulau galau” (communal forest reserve).
 

Several groups have been holding meetings and forums to discuss this issue and making calls on the Sarawak government to resolve it.

Before his death on Jan 11, Adenan had said he wanted to meet Dayak leaders to resolve the NCR land issue, particularly that over “pemakai menua” and “pulau galau”.

A Federal Court ruling on Dec 19 last year that both “pemakai menua” and “pulau galau” had no force of law in Sarawak caused an uproar among the Dayak community and politicians began making various calls for action.
 
~ Free Malaysia Today

Saturday, January 14, 2017

BARU BIAN: ABANG JOHARI’S APPOINTMENT AS CHIEF MINISTER WELCOME NEWS


PRESS STATEMENT
13 JANUARY 2017

The announcement of the new Chief Minister today is welcome news. We appreciate the fact that the appointment was made without delay to ensure continuing smooth administration of the state and to avoid speculations.

Datuk Amar Abang Johari is an experienced leader, being a nine-term assemblyman. I believe he has come to understand the matters that are of great concern to the people of Sarawak from what Tan Sri Adenan Satem had prioritised, which gave him the popular vote from Sarawakians. We hope he will continue where the late Chief Minister left off and forge ahead with issues that were close to Adenan Satem’s heart, such as autonomy, petroleum royalty, education and illegal logging, just to name a few. In particular, we are optimistic that he will maintain our right to freedom of religion as championed by Adenan Satem and also pursue the NCR land issue that has been burdening the native communities. We call upon him, as one of his first acts in office, to ensure that the Land Code is amended to incorporate the concept of pemakai menoa and pulau galau as NCR land. This will be a very meaningful and momentous start to his role as Chief Minister of Sarawak, and signal to the people that he truly has their interests at heart.

On a personal level, I have always found Abang Johari to be very approachable and I look forward to working together with him for a better Sarawak.

The appointment of Datuk Amar Abang Johari augurs well for the political stability of Sarawak. My party members and I offer our heartiest congratulations to the new Chief Minister of Sarawak.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan